As many of you know this past weekend was opening weekend of Fall rifle deer season. This is basically a holiday in my family. There is so much time and effort that goes into one week. The whole year is spent scouting and prepping for a few short days in the woods. Logan always heads out with the men of his family to the "deer shack" and I always take off with my dad. Hunting to my father is basically equivalent to breathing. It just has to be done. He has been hunting since he was around the age of 7. He has been hunting everything from squirrels to elk. He and mom purchased me my first gun on my 12th birthday. A Ruger 243 bolt action rifle. The minute I opened the box I fell in love with it. I was excited to be able to go out and hunt, sit in the woods for hours, but mainly I knew it meant spending time with my dad.
I have been hunting with him for 12 years now. We head out every deer and turkey season. And if were being honest, I am writing this blog post on my phone as I hunt. (It has been a slow morning.) Every deer season we pack up and head out to the woods. Now, I could write a book on all the stories we have shared together. Some better than others but they all end in a good laugh. I hate knowing that most of you will never have the opportunity to hunt with my dad. I know I sound biased but he is the best, and most skilled hunter I have ever seen. The dude can literally spot a deer a half mile away in brushy woods. He can hear turkeys coming in wet leaves and he's so stealthy he could teach assassins a thing or two. I am so proud to call him my dad. He has literally taught me everything I know.
I remember hunting with dad at a young age. I knew he was good so I told myself at an early age that I was going to follow his every step. Look where he looked and spoke when he spoke. I trusted him. At 12 years old I knew he would let me know if he heard or saw something. When I first began my adventure as a hunter I didn't know much. I didn't know about wind patterns, how to listen for particular sounds, or how to shoot a deer running through the woods. But the one thing I knew to do was to follow my dad's footsteps. Literally. As we would walk through the woods I would follow tightly behind. I would clump through the woods dragging my feet sounding like a heard of elephants. I would step on limbs, rocks, and all the biggest, driest piles of leaves. It was like trying to get a lab puppy to be graceful. I remember him stopping and looking back at me and he would say very softly "follow me, gently and quietly." So I'd watch his every soft heel to toe steps. Placing my tiny foot in his size 13 tracks following every step he took. Because I knew where he walked, I should walk. I wouldn't even look up. I just kept my eyes focused on his feet. Stepping where he stepped and following close behind. To this day I still follow close behind. Now, I know much more than I did back then but I still follow close behind walking in his steps trusting that he will lead me where I need to go. The past few years we have been splitting up to cover more ground but I still remember the heel to toe techniques. As I walked once more through the woods I thought about something. Following my dad is a lot like following Jesus. I walk through the woods unsure of where I'm going but I know that He will take care of me. That Jesus knows best. I am imperfect, loud, and clumsy. But I follow close behind putting my feet in his path. I trust and have faith that He knows what's best and where we're going. And when I start fumbling around He looks back at me with kind eyes and softly says "follow me, gently and quietly."
Disclaimer: Most of these are turkey season pictures! Haha!